3 Life-Saving Study Strategies For Finals

3 Life-Saving Study Strategies For Finals

You can ace these tests!
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Finals are stressful, and not just because they cover six month's work of material we have to study all over again, but because some of us have no idea how to review that much with a limited amount of time. The best way to overcome that hurdle is by using these three easy strategies to help memorize and master everything you need to study for finals!

1. Immerse your subconscious by surrounding yourself with whatever needs to be memorized.

Now I'm not saying decal the textbook world map onto your living room walls, but I am saying put it on your wall — preferably in the form of taped printer paper. Tape sheets of the world map on the wall in your bedroom, your bathroom and any other place in the house you stay in. Put it as your computer desktop background, your cellphone background and whatever else you stare at most of the time. Take a two minute glance at it every morning, in between breaks, before and after meals and before you go to sleep. Get yourself into the habit of staring at the world map, and by the end of a week or so, you will have it memorized.

Overexposing yourself to whatever you need to memorize — whether it's a world map or periodic table — will help your subconscious to internalize the information with half the usual effort. It's like a physical mind map and works just as effectively.

2. Divert from your practices and determine your learning style, even if you think you already know it.

Studying is exhausting, and what's even more frustrating is not being able to fully remember certain concepts you know you went over at least a dozen times or blanking out in the middle of an exam when trying to run through the list of formulas stashed somewhere in your mind. Unfortunately, repetitive memorization seldom works, unless that's your learning style.

Everyone has a different learning style — whether it's auditory, visual, linguistic or kinesthetic. A lot of people associate "studying" with "linguistics," whenever they reread chapters and notes. While most people fall into more than one of those categories, it's interesting to note that 65 percent of people on average are visual learners, but 80 percent of teaching instruction is delivered orally when only 10 percent of the population consists of auditory learners.

To study effectively, determine your learning style right now by taking this quick quiz.

3. Avert your attention to master the art of guesstimation.

There are three ways of guessing: random, educated guessing and meta-guessing.

Random guessing is self-explanatory: pick whatever answer your gut tells you is correct and move on.

Educated guessing is the better option because you use what you already know to narrow down answers. With this method, try rephrasing sentences in your head or on paper. You can narrow down your choices by paying special attention to the terminology used, like:

– If two choices essentially say the same thing, ignore them both and choose something else.

Avoid absolutes, such as answers with the words "all," "very," or "none."

Eliminate extreme answers that look totally different from the rest of the answers provided.

Match keywords in the question with keywords in the answers.

Find answers to one question by looking at another question on the test that has that information.

And so forth. If you'd like to see the full list of tips, check out this website.

Meta-guessing is more analytical, and thus, has a higher chance of actually being the right answer. This form of guessing puts you into the minds of test-creators and over time, you become familiar with the way certain test questions are formatted.

Here's how:

1. Don't look at the question — only look at the answers. For instance, say your answer choices are:

A.) -5

B.) -10/3

C.) -7/3

D.) 5/3

E.) 5

2. Eliminate the answer that appears to be an outlier compared to other answers. In the example above, that outlier is -7/3. Why? Because all the other answers are divisible by five.

3. Narrow down your choices by picking out what's obvious. Nearly all of the answer choices above have three as their denominator. What's the point of including so many answers with three as the denominator unless the correct answer has three in the denominator? This leaves either -10/3 or 5/3 as the answer.

4. But don't overthink it. The correct answer would be 5/3, because "there is a choice of 5 which I would assume is there for students who forgot to divide by 3," but the designers of the test are smart. They anticipate students may adopt this train, so "the actual answer is -10/3."

At the end of the day, guesstimating should only be used rarely, as needed, and most of the answers should come from memorization and practice. So surround yourself with learning material, determine your learning style and study hard to ace your finals!

Cover Image Credit: iStock

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How To Not Be A Terrible Roomie, An 18-Step Guide

Freshmen, take notes.
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Incoming Freshmen, this one is for you,

1. If your roomie is asleep – be quiet.

Don't play music out loud (use headphones), don't make phone calls and if you have to go out into the hallway or common area to make it!

2. Be polite about working late at night.

Make sure the light isn't shining near their bed so it won't be in their faces while they are trying to sleep.

3. Ask before you turn off the light.

There's a reason you have your own personal lamp.

4. Make sure you clean your side of the room.

Don't leave your clothes everywhere, empty your garbage, make your bed, and clean up your desk sometimes

5. If your roomie is studying for a hard test, don't bring friends into your room.

It's just ten times more distracting.

6. Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb at night.

This will help with the vibration noises/ringers from your phones. (I attached an example just in case you don't know how to do it).

7. Throw food out in the trash room.

You don't want the odor of old food in your room!

8. Do your laundry.

Don't let your basket overflow onto the floor.

9. If your roomie's parents are coming to visit, CLEAN YOUR SIDE.

Make a good impression!

10. Tell your roomie if you are having someone stay over - don't make it a surprise.

(I made this mistake... it's really awkward).

11. Don't take things without asking.

Even if it is as simple as food.. don't take without asking! IT'S NOT YOURS!

12. Don't talk about your roomie's personal life to other people.

You will hear things when they are talking to their parents, don't repeat it, it's rude.

13. Don't tell people who came over the night before.

This applies ties into rule number 12.

14. Share the room.

If your roomie wants to have a night with someone special, let them. They'll return the favor in the future (don't forget that).

15. Don't bring people they don't like into the room.

It's awkward.

16. If you're pre-gaming with friends, you're responsible for YOU and YOUR FRIENDS mess.

Don't leave bottles laying around - clean up!

17. Talk before changing the room around.

Don't move anything before you talk to the other person.

18. Set some rules when you first move in.

It will make everything a lot easier.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Just Because It's Summer Doesn't Mean We Stop Learning

Exercise your brains and your talents - no matter the season.

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I made a list of goals for this summer:

- Write every day.

- Learn how to play "Clair de Lune" by the end of the summer.

- Exercise at least three times a week.

- Read. A lot.

- Stay off of my Instagram until August.

- Pay off half of my Sallie Mae student loan.

These are just a few of the things that I have chosen to busy myself with over the next two months that I am at home. Some of them are easy goals in terms of them only taking a couple of hours a day to complete, but others, like my desire to play one of my favorite pieces of music on the piano, will take daily time and require discipline in order for me to complete it.

Netflix has robbed me of my ability to self-discipline, and it's disheartening. Not that I blame "The Office" for causing me to be lazy, but it's true. I spend more time in front of the TV watching inspiring people (like Michael Scott) do inspiring stuff (like start The Michael Scott Paper Company) and less time pushing myself to do the inspiring stuff that I want to achieve.

How do we correct the laziness that seems to hit hard, especially during the summer for us students?

It will be the battle of waking up daily and saying, "I will dedicate time to making this goal happen." That won't be easy. I have mornings where my laziness is so obvious that I don't even want to make my bed.

Our goals require discipline. It's like when someone wants to lose weight: you don't tell yourself one day, "I'm going to lose weight," and then never have to remind yourself of that goal again. It takes other people holding you accountable and you holding yourself accountable to that declaration. It takes a lot of sweat and tears.

Let's hold ourselves to that same standard in other parts of our lives, too. I want to write a book, and I've started one several times, but I don't discipline myself and set apart time where I work on my goal. So, I have brought other people into this part of my life and have asked that they "check in" on my progress. Once we pop our personal bubbles around our goals and expand the bubbles to include our accountability partners and helpers, we are more likely to finish what we've started.

Where in your life have you set goals and haven't experienced the harvest from the labor? Is it because there are only spurts of labor and not consistent watering and growing and (my favorite word) cultivating of the effort?

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Ugh.

I hate failing, but sometimes we will. Actually, a lot of times, we will. I haven't even started practicing "Clair de Lune." BIG failure on my part, since I'll be playing catch up for the rest of the summer. But, I have not lost sight of the goal yet. It's okay to fail, as long as we don't allow the failure to end the pursuit of our achievements.

There is something so satisfying about seeing your efforts come to fruition, achieving that goal that you've been working on for a summer, a year, a decade, even.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the showstopper "Hamilton: An American Musical" worked on his masterpiece for seven years before getting to see it onstage. Well, he didn't actually get to see it because he was "Alexander Hamilton", but his project grew for years. Years of endurance. Years of scrapping material he had put his effort in. Years of pulling other extremely gifted people to help him. Years of wondering when he would be done.

That opening night must have been a dream for Miranda and his team.

Cover Image Credit:

Victoria Nay

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